Professional Learning Institute

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 – 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM

The Professional Learning Institute (PLI) focuses on research-based strategies and concepts proven to transform and impact the early childhood classroom.  You will leave these sessions refreshed and energized to enhance techniques and instruction for young learners! Presented by national speakers who specialize in Early Childhood Education, this is a full-day symposium targeting Administrators, Curriculum Specialists, Directors and Teachers.

Registered participants will select from a variety of topics in a morning session (8:30 am – 11:30 am) and an afternoon session (1:00 pm – 4:00 pm) on a first come, first served basis.  Complimentary Luncheon (11:30 am – 1:00 pm) will be served, and 6 hours CPE credit will be offered for this exclusive event.  Additional fee required.

PLI presenters and sessions for 2018 are listed below.

Resistance to Relationship: Strategies for Reaching Challenging Children 

Vicky Hepler
Conscious Discipline® 

Session Description: 

Transforming behavior for permanent change is possible, even with the most challenging children. When we create willingness through relationship building and teach the skills needed for interacting with others we can be successful at transforming their behavior. In this workshop, you will learn:

  • The Conscious Discipline© Brain State Model
  • How to increase willingness and impulse control through relationship building
  • How School Family® jobs create opportunities for success and service
  • To make the most of “teachable moments” to teach social skills

Read Vicky’s Bio here.

Teaching Academic Language through Phenomenon-based Science

Dr. Kenneth Wesson
Ed. Consultant, Neuroscience

Session Description:

Contemporary surveys reveal that “boring” is the most dominant single-word description that students give for education. In our technology-rich and highly-visual world, student engagement and achievement are enhanced through exciting phenomenon-based learning (PhenoBL), where they examine real-life scenarios, which are investigated through a wide interdisciplinary lens. According to Vygotsk, language grows out of interactions with objects and with others. Through these social-experiential learning interactions, language competency develops quickly, naturally, and deeply.

Current research tells us that the human brain learns best when it digests information that is intriguing and relevant. In PhenoBL, the student investigations, discoveries, conversations, questions, and explanations build vocabulary, conceptual knowledge, and critical thinking. As a result, Pheno-BL has been implemented throughout Finland, a country consistently recognized as among the world’s highest achieving nations.
Participants in this workshop will learn how to merge the CCSS E/LA standards and the NGSS (Science) into brain-considerate phenomenon-based learning experiences.

Read more about Dr. Wesson here.

Restructuring Sharing Time for English Learners and Their Parents

Dr. Patricia Edwards
Michigan State University

Session Description:

Sharing Time, also referred to as show and tell, rug time, new time, and circle time, is used in primary-grade classrooms as an authentic opportunity for oral language development. Oral language development is particularly important for ELLs as they are acquiring and practicing the English language. The structure of sharing time usually involves students bringing an object to share and describe to their classmates.  In this presentation, Edwards describes a modification to make sharing time a meaningful opportunity to elicit involvement of English language parents.

Read more about Dr. Edwards here.

Teaching the Foundations of Reading

Dr. Ray Reutzel
University of Wyoming

Session Description:

A Professional Learning Institute (PLI) describing the latest research on foundational reading skills instruction for young children, with strategies to support teaching in the classroom.

Research has clearly shown that young students’ early reading success is highly dependent on knowledgeable primary grade teachers who understand and teach reading foundational skills (Cooper & Costa, 2012; Strickland, et al., 2002; Ushomirsky, 2011). Although these skills are very different from reading comprehension, they are nevertheless necessary to it. We also recognize that teaching reading foundations won’t necessarily result in reading comprehension. However, if a child can’t fluently identify words, the chances of reading and understanding sentences, paragraphs, or whole texts for comprehension are practically zero. Conversely, just because a child can identify words fluently doesn’t inevitably result in comprehension of sentences, paragraphs, or whole texts. Reading comprehension must be taught in combination or integrated with the teaching of reading foundational skills.

Read more about Dr. Ruetzel here.

Purposeful Integration of Mathematics within STEAM

Dr. Brian Mowry
Frog Street Author

Session Description:

While research confirms that young children will intuitively use materials such as blocks or Legos® to engineer elaborate structures, this informal activity benefits from the intentional planning of teachers to encourage a deeper understanding of formal mathematical concepts. This session presents strategies to enhance children’s engineering activity through explicit math instruction, which can occur in both teacher-directed as well as child-initiated (e.g., play) contexts. The presenter will focus on the mathematical content and specific skills that young children encounter during developmentally appropriate, meaningful, and playful STEAM related projects and explorations. This relevant content knowledge and skill acquisition is categorized by the National Council of Mathematics (NCTM) in four specific domains, which include patterning (algebra), numeracy, measurement, and geometry.

Read more about Dr. Mowry here.